SURREY — A startup company that likens itself to “Tinder for meat” is now shipping to Surrey.
Meatme connects people to local farmers to buy sustainable and ethically raised meats and says it’s “revolutionizing the way we eat meat - one cow, pig, lamb and chicken at a time.”
Co-founder Victor Straatman said the idea for the company struck him when he struggled to find ethical meat from local farms after moving to B.C. from Holland in the summer of 2015.
“I looked online and it turned out it was difficult,” he said. “I got referred to a farm in northern B.C. and basically went to the website and it felt a bit like going back 10 or 15 years on the internet.”
He ended up meeting with a farmer in a North Vancouver parking lot.
“A physical meat meeting,” he said with a chuckle. “I wrote out a paper cheque.”
But he knew there had to be an easier - and more convenient - way.
Soon after, Meatme was born and in March of 2016, the first cow was “crowdfunded.”
Straatman explained the company makes commitments with a farmer - for one cow or one pig, for example - and people can then buy “shares” until the whole animal is accounted for.
“It’s works out to be more cost effective than quality meats in the grocery departments,” he noted, “and we’re able to give you a better and more ethical product.”
Straatman said it will be “superior to what you would buy in a supermarket.”
Meatme promises their animals are free ranged on natural pasture; are free of antibiotics, hormones and chemical feed additives; and only partner with farmers who consider animal health and welfare a top priority.
The recent news of Chilliwack chicken workers allegedly abusing animals is a reminder of why it’s important to buy “honest and ethical” meat, said Straatman.
“All these smaller farms, they really care about the animals and don’t want to lose an animal by treating them badly,” said Straatman. “And the quality of the meat is highly dependent on the stress level of the animals.”
The problem, he continued, is that there’s a “disconnect between farmers and consumers,” and “farmers are not always marketing or sales people.”
Though the company has been around for over a year in Vancouver, they’ve recently expanded and now deliver to many more B.C. cities, including Surrey.
And business is good, said Straatman.
“Customer demand for this type of product is growing,” he remarked. “People want to buy healthier meat. Meat you can feel good about.”
Prior to starting the company, Straatman said he was just a consumer himself.
“I have a digital agency back home in Holland,” he elaborated. “I’ve been in the internet industry and an engineer. This just came from my personal ambition to make a difference - not only to make companies make more revenue online but also make the world a better place.”
Kendall Ballantine of Langley’s Central Park Farms says if you’re going to eat meat, be conscious about what you’re eating.
“Take the time to learn where your food is coming from and how it’s being raised,” she said in a release. “We take pride in transparency and that is why we are proud to work with Meatme. They met us, saw how we raised our meat, and they help people who don’t necessarily have the access to a farm or farmer’s markets.”
Meatme was recently nominated for Foodie of the Year 2017 by Western Living Magazine, and will be featured on CBC’s Dragon’s Den in the fall of this year.
They offer free shipping on purchases over $185. See more at meatme.ca.